Red Dot Design Museum, Essen

Gelsenkirchener Straße 181, Essen
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Email: museum(at)red-dot.de
Phone: +49 201 30104 60
Website: https://www.red-dot-design-museum.org/essen
closed on: Mondays, Christmas and New Year's day
Museum Type: Industrial design
Red Dot Design Museum Essen

The Red Dot Design Museum is a museum in Essen, Germany, dedicated to industrial design. With a floor area of 4,000 square meters and a collection of over 2,000 objects, it is one of the largest design museums in the world.

Above: the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen, Germany; photo by Like_the_Grand_Canyon (CC BY-NC 2.0).

History and location
The museum’s roots trace back to the Permanent Show of Elegant Industrial Products (German: Ständige Schau formschöner Industrieerzeugnisse) opened in Essen in 1955 in order to showcase the best of German industrial production (the exhibition was financially supported by the famous Essen-based company Krupp).
In the following decades, the museum changed location three times and was first renamed Haus Industrieform, and then Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen.
Eventually renamed Red Dot Design Museum, in 1997 the institution moved to its current home.

The building of the museum is part of the Zeche Zollverein, a monumental former coal mine industrial complex, founded in 1847, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.

Zeche Zollverein Essen, UNESCO

The Zeche Zollverein UNESCO site in Essen, photo Schnitzel_bank (CC BY-ND 2.0).

The five-story museum’s home, a former boiler house built in 1929, was renovated and converted into an exhibition venue after a design by British architect Lord Norman Foster. The project by Foster has retained much of the industrial architecture of the old building as well as some of its original fittings, including pipework, pressure gauges, and steel girders.

The current name of the museum originates from the Red Dot Design Award, a well-known prize, awarded by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, aimed to recognize each year the most innovative designs in various fields, including home furniture, lighting, household appliances, cookware, tableware, sports equipment, fashion, luggage, urban design, tools, robotics, healthcare, vehicles, consumer electronics, communication design, and more.

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Interior views of the museum. Photos © Red Dot Design Museum

Exhibition and activities
The permanent exhibition of the Red Dot Design Museum features objects from the vast collection of the museum, most of which are displayed on rotation after a selection made by the same international jury of experts of the Red Dot Prize.
The exhibition reflects the manifold character of the prize – with special attention to vehicles, lighting, communication, and consumer electronics – and includes special sections dedicated to Apple computers and communication devices, Philips consumer electronics products, and an iconic installation featuring the aluminum frame of an Audi A8 hung from the museum’s ceiling.

The Red Dot Design Museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, creative workshops, and educational programs for kids, families, and schools.

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The permanent exhibition of the Red Dot Museum, installation views. Photos © Red Dot Design Museum


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